Monday, September 21, 2009

The Charlie Brown Craft Show Tent – Of Good Samaritans and Your Tax Dollars at Work

To qualify for the vast majority of outdoor craft shows, you need a 10-foot by 10-foot white canopy tent. I called my friendly neighborhood Pat Catan’s to see what they might have. Turns out they had just one left … the floor model display, and the cost was a whopping … * drumroll please * … ten dollars! An awesome find, since many of these tents cost hundreds of dollars. “Hold it for me, I’m getting in the car right now and will be there as fast as I can drive!”

On entering the store, I heard far-off clinking metallic sounds. I made a manager aware of my presence and mission. Off we walked towards the metallic sounds. Surprise! A couple of employees were dismantling the craft show tent. “Hold it right there,” the manager said, “You can’t take this home free for yourselves. We’ve got a paying customer.”

The tent went into a box with no cover and no set of instructions. At least I was able to carry it to the car myself. I’m small-built, so if I hadn’t have been able to lift it, this saga would have ended right there.

This summer I applied for the Rocky River Fall Arts Festival. Kinda nervous, I called a couple friends to ask if I could borrow their backyard and could they help me practice setting up the tent? I brought them a cherry strudel for their trouble. But between the three of us, there was no earthly way we could stand the crazy contraption up!

The big day arrived. I showed up and explained my predicament. Someone suggested I could live without a tent since it was a nice day. Only, the mayor hosting the arts festival would not like that.

And so it took SEVEN PEOPLE working AN ENTIRE HOUR to help set up the craft show tent! Come to find out, these Good Samaritans included at least one financial tycoon of Northeast Ohio and several high-ranking officials in the local city government! I asked the most helpful one who he was so I could thank him properly, but he preferred to remain anonymous. In fact, nobody gave me their names. Anyway, I am SO IMMENSELY GRATEFUL to everyone who helped me at the first annual Rocky River Fall Arts Festival. Thank you! You know who you are!

Later on, my friends from the backyard came to help me take down the tent … which of course was no problem at all.

As for the fate of the tent, I’m planning to drop it off at the Goodwill store. The good news is, at least it served its purpose on the day I really needed it!


Annie said...

What a great story. And please, please, tell us you had a successful sales day too!!

By the way, like you, I'm clueless beyond hem and buttons when it comes to sewing. My machine would make your hair curl with the stories it could tell. Finger nicks from sewing needles are the norm too. I'm not smart enough to pull out the thimble but then I find them annoying anyway.

But, I DO enjoy embroidery. I guess it will be keeping me busy for a while until I move on to something else. :-)

Janie said...

This does sound like a Charlie Brown tent. I'm glad to hear you had lots of helpful citizens to get it up for you! Probably a good decision to send it on to Goodwill.

grammyof13 said...

I found your site from Judy's medicine show!!!! Anyway, I may stick around for more of your antics. Love the "tent" story. I'll be back to read older posts.

Jan's Place USA and Mt Forest Pictures said...

oh my gosh.. how funny is that. They wouldn't tell you who they were...hmmm.

Hope you did good!

Mary said...

Enjoyed the story. What a great find for $10. Surely now that you set it up once, it will get easier! Won't you need a tent for other shows? I hope you sold lots of photos. We have several art festivals in this area. How far away do you go for shows? Thanks for confirming my bird ID.

Judy said...

So glad everything worked out for you and the tent served its purpose if even for one day. I love craft shows. There are so many talented people in this world today. I am afraid I am not one of them!

CountryDreaming said...

Janie: Well, the Charlie Brown Craft Show Tent is now history ... I packed it all up, drove it down to the Goodwill store, and told the man there that I'd feel bad charging anyone actual money for the thing, but that I actually did get it standing ... with seven people working on it! I'm just glad he agreed to take the tent off my hands!

Annie, Jan, Mary: Given the challenging state of this economy in which many crafters aren't even bothering to set up, I'm happy to have made some sales, passed out some business cards, as well as made a trade with a friendly lady who has an Etsy store called The4Rs. So as part of my earnings, I came away with a way cool vintage pale blue and brown leaf print dress with ivory lace sleeves that reminds me of something a Wild West cowgirl or a prairie settler from the 1800's would wear.

grammyof13: Welcome aboard! Oh, and 13 is one of my favorite numbers, don't you know?

Judy: I'd say you have quite a talent for writing, as I always enjoy your blog!